STEUBENVILLE – The Franciscan women's basketball team went toe-to-toe in the second with visiting Pitt.-Bradford but could not completely erase the deficit and fell to the Panthers, 81-66, Saturday afternoon.
Trailing 42-24 at halftime, the Lady Barons came out of the locker room with a great deal of urgency and seemed to have an answer for every Panther bucket. Brittany Watts hit a jumper for UPB and freshman Abby Baierl immediately answered with a three-pointer to set the stage for a 20-20 third quarter. The Lady Barons shot an impressive 61.5% (8-for-13) from the floor while Baierl and freshman Kaitlyn Sonneberger each chipped in six points.
Franciscan continued its hot shooting into the fourth quarter as the Lady Barons out-scored the Panthers 20-19 in the final 10 minutes. With just under two minutes to play, Baierl made a pair of fre throws to cut the Panther lead down to 10, 72-62, but that would be as close as Franciscan would get. The Panthers answered with a 7-2 run to push the lead back to 15 points, 79-64 with 1:07 to play. Sonneberger hit the final jumper of the game to cut the lead to 13, 79-66, but Stephanie Maciag made a final pair of free throws to being the score to its final, 81-66, with 44 seconds to play.
Franciscan shot 40.0 % (24-60) for the day and was 12-18 from the free throw line. Baierl posted a career-best 20 points, including going 5-for-7 from beyond the three-point arc. Sonneberger posted 15 points while sophomore Raegan Stead chipped in 14. Sonneberger and Stead each had six boards for the Lady Barons.
The Panthers led early and never relinquished the lead against the Lady Barons. UPB got out to an early 15-5 lead in the first but the Lady Barons whittled the deficit down to eight, 20-12, at the end of the first. Pitt.-Bradford used a 22-14 second quarter to keep a double-digit lead as the teams headed into halftime. Despite strong play in the second half, the deficit was just too large for the Lady Barons to overcome.
Franciscan kicks off a two-game road trip on Wednesday as the Lady Barons head to Penn State Altoona for a 6pm tip off.